School in Mexico takes the Indian out of girls

Hundreds of students at a Roman Catholic boarding school school in Mexico have fallen ill in recent months in what doctors are calling a collective hysteria.

The girls at Children’s Village School near Mexico City come from Indian and poor families. They are only allowed to see their families three times a year and can't make phone calls.

“Yes, the girls miss their families,” one of the nuns told The New York Times. “But here we form character. A girl here is no longer an Indian girl from the mountains. She knows how to express herself, she knows how to smile. They have confidence.”

The school denies mistreatment is to blame for the illness that has affected 600 of the 3,600 students. But doctors say the girls are suffering from a psychological ailment. Some of the affected girls have been allowed to go home for a week -- they appear to recover after seeing their families.

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At a School for the Poor, a Mysterious, Crippling Illness (The New York TImes 4/16)

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